Lampard relishing title race
Published 19/03/2014 | 23:12
Frank Lampard is thrilled Chelsea are in Premier League title contention after falling short in recent seasons.
Jose Mourinho in 2005 delivered Chelsea's first championship in 50 years, defending the title in 2006, but the Blues have had just one Premier League win since, in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti.
The Blues won the 2012 Champions League and FA Cup, but finished the season 25 points adrift of winners Manchester City in sixth place.
A year later they were 14 points behind Manchester United, finishing third, but won the Europa League.
Although Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge last summer, has downplayed their title chances for this term, the Blues enter the weekend's fixtures at the top of the Premier League.
"It's great to be in this position," Lampard said.
"We've had a couple of years, two or three years, off the pace, finishing short.
"It's great to be back in the race and to feel that around the club, to feel we're fighting for the title rather than fighting for fourth place. It feels good."
Chelsea's place at the top of the standings could be temporary as they have played more games than Saturday's opponents Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, who are Mourinho's title favourites as they have three games in-hand and are six points behind after the Blues' defeat at Aston Villa last weekend.
After advancing to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate defeat of Galatasaray, Chelsea's focus returns to the Premier League in the London derby with Arsenal, whose search for silverware stretches back nearly nine years.
Arsene Wenger, branded a "specialist in failure" by Mourinho last month, takes charge of his 1000th Arsenal match, with Lampard hoping to ensure the Frenchman's landmark occasion is spoiled and Chelsea's challenge goes on.
Lampard said: "They've got a lot of good players and quality. Every team has to break the mould some time.
"We worry about ourselves, where we are at the minute. If we can win as many games as we can till the end of the season we'll give ourselves a great chance. I am confident."